According to Iran’s Interior Ministry, the incumbent President Hassan Rouhani has secured the necessary majority in Friday’s presidential election, defeating conservative Ebrahim Raisi.
Rouhani has won over 23,5 million votes, and Raisi secured around 15,8 million. The turnout was very high, with over 40 millions votes cast.
Widely perceived as a moderate cleric in favor of improving Iran’s standing in the world, Rouhani promised he will continue to pursue modernization policies and work to completely lift Western sanctions against Iran.
His conservative opponent has accused Rouhani of mismanaging the economy and appealed to poorer voters in Iran’s rural areas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Rouhani on his election victory. In a letter to his Iranian colleague, Putin said that Russia is ready to further develop the bilateral partnership between two countries.
The Russian leader “expressed confidence in further successful implementation of the agreements, including those reached during the recent official visit of Hassan Rouhani to Russia” to maintain stability and security in the Middle East and in the world, according to official president’s website.
Iran and Russia both strongly support the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, with both countries providing military support to Damascus in its fight against ISIS and anti-government forces. Iran-backed Shia militias continue to play a crucial role in the Syrian civil war and the fight against ISIS.
Rouhani has also received congratulations from EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.
During his first mandate, Rouhani successfully negotiated a nuclear deal between Iran and five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany in 2015. Under the agreement, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for lifting some of the economic sanctions.
The deal helped reduce tensions with Western powers and revitalize Iran’s economy, largely dependent on oil production and exports. Rouhani adopted a more moderate domestic policy.
He has been faced with criticism from his hard-line opponents, but remained popular throughout his term.
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